Last week in my oral communications class we watched Justin Treasure’s TedTalk. Towards the end of of his presentation, he led the audience through a voice warm up. I managed to get the class to stand and stretch, but no one made the motor sound, no one went really loud WEEEE-OOOO.
I did. In the back of the class. Everyone laughing. I believe the students think I’m a bit crazy. And in my writing classes, I tell my students they should read their work out loud–to listen for the pitch, timbre, and patter of their words.
They are all already experts in the language. They have been talking for years, but how difficult is it for us to let go and hear our own voice? As Treasure says, only words can begin a war, only words can say ‘I love you.’
Moving a comma, trading one word for another, according to David Sedaris via Mary Laura Philpott, these small changes make all the difference.
Often, my kids will be doing something–homework, watching TV, listening to music, playing video games, hanging with friends–just normal kids stuff. Because I have to keep an eye on them, make sure they are safe, I will keep the bedroom door open–where we keep the computer–sit at the desk, and read out loud what I have written. Then my kids come in shouting at me to shut up.
I feel slightly embarrassed. They weren’t meant to hear. Or at least not yet because I was listening to my own voice, trying to figure out what I really had to say before I released my words upon the world.
For my kids, I stop reading out loud. But when they go outside or forget about me again and go do their thing, I read out loud. I speak again. I never completely shut-up. What I have to say, what you have to say, it’s too important to stop talking.
Next week Monday: Elizabeth Strout and Allie Brosh.
I want to thank again Mary Laura Philpott whose original post What I’ve Learned From 28 Brilliant Creators has been the inspiration for my series on creativity.
And hey, I want to hear from you!
What are some of the daily habits you’ve perused to cultivate creativity in your own life? I think, in writing this series of blog posts, I’ve realized you don’t have to be an “artist” to be an artist. The only requirement, really, is being human.